Inno Under 25: Sarah Beth Perry, With the Band – Nashville Business Journal

Nashville’s startup scene is roaring like a Saturday night on Lower Broadway.
Eye-popping funding rounds, multimillion dollar exits and a wave of businesses launching outside of the city’s traditional health care ecosystem have elevated Nashville’s profile in the startup world, while inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs to innovate.
To cover this unprecedented era of entrepreneurship in Music City, the Nashville Business Journal is launching a new outlet called Nashville Inno, your go-to source for reporting on early-stage startups and innovative companies and entrepreneurs in Middle Tennessee.
To celebrate Inno’s launch, we found six creative Nashville entrepreneurs under the age of 25 that are hustling to build their startups into the city’s next success stories.
Some of these young entrepreneurs are juggling running their business while still attending college, while others are searching for funding to take their startups to the next level. All have faced never-before-seen challenges to construct a new business amid a global pandemic.
But as one founder told us, these entrepreneurs “don’t really take ‘no’ for an answer.”
Growing up in Nashville, Sarah Beth Perry thought meeting a famous musician was as simple as going over to a friend’s house to watch a movie.
“I went to school with a lot of the country singers’ kids. When I played on the basketball team, the opposing team was coached by Tim McGraw, and I was good friends with Alan Jackson’s daughter in elementary school. I just thought that was normal,” Perry said. “I ended up going to high school in Atlanta, and I remember being a little shell-shocked because I had no idea that it was weird to know singers and know people in music. I thought they existed everywhere. I didn’t know it was a Nashville thing.”
Today, Perry is back in Music City, and she’s trying to bring that “Nashville thing” to the rest of the world through her startup, With the Band.
With the Band was founded as a platform to connect fans and artists through fan meet-ups and engagements, such as the “Comeback” fan project the company spearheaded at a 2019 Jonas Brothers concert in Bridgestone Arena.
But when the Covid-19 pandemic hit just a few months later, Perry’s business model, built around meet-ups and concerts, was no longer viable.
Instead of calling it quits, Perry said she met with a group of about 20 heads of music labels and musicians’ managers to learn what artists needed to make it through the crisis. What they came up with is a platform Perry calls a “modern day fan club.”
“Managers and people in digital were reaching out like, ‘Hey Sarah, what can we do besides a live stream?’ Because it just seemed like there were no other options,” Perry said. “What we came up with enables an artist to launch their own Fan Crew, which is our modern day version of a fan club. Think of it as the business model of Patreon, but for the high-level talent of a MasterClass person.”
With the Band launched the beta version of the platform in May and expects to release the full version to several more artists this fall.
The platform allows artists to connect with fans through exclusive social media content, such as videos from the studio, exclusive merchandise and planned meet-ups, all while collecting data about their fan base, Perry said.
The platform’s first artist is rock and blues musician Maggie Rose. Perry said the startup will add more artists in waves, as to not grow too quickly. The company plans to move into a new East Nashville office and hire three new employees by early next year.
“The pandemic was a painful experience, but we are 100% in a better place than we were before,” Perry said. “There is so much opportunity, and we were really just chipping at the iceberg when we were doing those big fan activations. We just want to be the go-to source for artist when they want to engage their fans in creative ways.”
Age: 25
Company name: With the Band
Year founded: 2017
Employees: 2
Any programs or business incubators you have participated in to help launch or grow your business: Belmont Business Accelerator Program, PreFlight, InFlight, Project Music
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